KorBQ

13 Petrie Plaza, 2/131 London Circuit, Canberra, ACT, 2601

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A hidden gem in the bustle of Canberra Civic, you might just miss it and unfortunately miss out on the deliciousness of the meals! Book ahead, since the restrictions are still enforced and there are limited seatings. Also, I don’t believe I saw a second level, just the ground floor. Reserved for a 6pm dinner and one by one, the tables slowly filled up. There were high and low tables, with ample seating for large groups. The seats on the low tables were super comfortable.

Immediately seen from the interior, KorBQ sets itself apart by serving both traditional and modern Korean cuisines. The menu was exciting to browse through and not too hard to follow. You are given a variety of dishes to choose from, meat bbq cuts, fried chickens, soups, bibimbap and big-pots. Since we were three that night, we opted for a set menu, so we can try the various meat bbq cuts and the additional sides! The quality of the meats were delicious, evenly cut, clean and the right amount for the group. The sides were just as great, with the ox bone soup being a major highlight for me and their kimchi fried rice. The set menu we ordered was called ‘After Work Refill’. The creamy fried chicken was yes, creamy without it being soggy. The chicken’s taste reminded my of KFC.

Service was efficient and friendly! I loved how timely the food came out and the waiter didn’t have to change the grill. KorBQ can be found across two branches, the other in Belconnen. A great dinner to catch up with friends, family or for after work dine in, as you are sure to work out feeling well fed. Dishes are mid-range priced, casual in its dress code and you are sure to be eating in comfortable furniture. I highly recommend KorBQ, as they set the bar high for how Korean BBQ should be presented and served.

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Bob Marlin

Magsaysay Ave, Concepcion pequeña, Naga, 4400 Camarines Sur, Philippines

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Going down south from Manila, means getting to try another area’s local cuisines. Bob Marlin is known to cook up Bicolano dishes, which you will definitely be able to see in their extensive menu. The restaurant has got you covered in the sizzler, specials, soup, crispy department and much more!

Bob Marlin is situated in what seems to be the eat street of Naga City. You won’t miss it, they’ve got a massive sign, with a swordfish. Best to pre-book, we came on a weekday and it was filling up slowly during the evening. Service staff was quick on their feet when we came through. Food came out fairly quickly as well. I enjoyed the ambience, it was almost homely, the restaurant had that laid back vibe. From memory we ordered garlic rice (size was perfect for 3 people), crispy pata, bicol express and I forget what type of fish we ordered. I really enjoyed the crispy pata, the meat was soft, juicy and very clean. Like, it wasn’t over-the-top oily, which was a major plus. The skin was crispy and what I appreciated was the it wasn’t extremely chewy. The bicol express was great as well, the coconut taste was slight, bummed that the amount was quite small.

If you’re in the city, I highly recommend this restaurant. You won’t be paying a lot and you definitely have to order their crispy pata. Bob Marlin is a great place to start, in introducing Bicolano dishes!

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Nikkei

G/F Frabelle Business Center, 111 Rada, Legaspi Village, Makati City, Philippines

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Treated at Nikkei for Valentines Day, and my partner knows how much I enjoy Japanese cuisines. There are 3 other branches in other popular cities and this was our closest. When he mentioned the restaurant was serving a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines, I was super excited!

Let us first talk about the interior, which was gorgeously simple, with the wood accents covering both the ceiling and furnitures. The restaurant is quite cozy, fitting a small amount of people, which you are sitting very close to other diners. Wait staffs were attentive in refilling glasses, removing empty plates and was easy to get their attention. Food and drinks came out timely, all presented in an appealing way. From the plates, plating and interior, everything was balanced.

I am no Peruvian food expert, but it is evident from the Japanese cuisines, that there are slight twists to each item. Playfully colourful, each dish had its own unique texture, whilst staying consistent to the combined culture-fusion theme. The highlights would have to be the flamed edamame (surprisingly addictive), house-made ice cream scoop, kurobutoa gyoza and the miso soup! My bowl which had the grilled squid was ok, the grilled squid was comforting but unfortunately everything else in the bowl was bland. There’s a good amount in the bowls, so if you plan to eat small plates, skip the bowls. Cocktails were created beautifully, highlights would have to be their yamazaki umeshu and orange prosecco.

Everything was priced mid-range, a great place to explore fusion dishes, catching up with friends, lovers or for business meetings.

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Chatkazz

Shop 4/14-20 Station Street East, Harris Park NSW, Parramatta, New South Wales

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Chatkazz is located next to the bustling Parramatta CBD, in Harris Park. There is limited parking; I recommend taking a train to Parramatta station, as the walk from the station is only about 2 minutes.

The restaurant specialises in Indian street food, from chapatta chat, south Indian, chatkazz de parathe, pizza, Mumbai roadside specials and Bombay Chinese dishes. I forgot what dishes we purchased that night, but overall the quality was delicious! The sweetness in the dishes were tastefully done right. The texture of the curry was creamy and had so much flavour and fullness to the taste. I really appreciate fresh watermelon juice and the juice I got was perfect. Service was attentive, friendly and the dishes came out in a timely manner. With so many dishes to choose from, definitely pace yourself and try a few! I love seeing the orange, reds, yellows and brown colours of Indian cuisines, it just looks so appetising.

Chatkazz has two branches, the other in Bella Vista. There are plenty of tables, both inside and outside the restaurant, great for families, couples and friends to dine in. On a busy night, the restaurant sure does get loud, but it adds to the almost homeliness ambience of the place. Price is mid-range and serving size of most dishes is perfect for two people.

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Las Flores

One McKinley Place, 25th St, Taguig, 1634 Metro Manila

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Spending Christmas Day indulging in flavoursome Spanish tapas for dinner, was the best finale for the day. The restaurant was not hard to find, as it is located next to a busy road, I suggest getting dropped off and reserving a table.

The staff greeted us quickly and showed us to our seats; I was so glad the chairs were super comfortable! The inside was well lit, low music and had a lot of warm, cool tones reminiscent of Spain. Las Flores is known to serve modern Spanish tapas, that won’t break your bank and leaving you extremely satisfied. My recommended dishes would be trying one of their paellas, and definitely ordering their “conos de tartar de salmon” – not only was this dish presented in a fun way, but the cones exploded with delicious salmon, white truffle oil, hint of wasabi mayo and kimchi mayo… drool. For the night, we ordered the “paella cochinillo” which had big 5 bites suckling pig (sad there wasn’t more); the paella was more on the dry side. The bites of suckling pig had a thin layer of crisp, and the rest was almost lean meat. The paella was sauced in every area, not too sweet and had the right amount of saltiness. The paella is actually not deep at all, so does not have to be shared. Churros were crispy on the outside and smooth in the inside, perfect with the dips – warm chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

Service was professional and the food came out in a timely manner. You can choose to dine outside or inside and the other best thing of Las Flores, was that the room temperature was perfect! Get a bit of everything, and from what my partner said, try their very smooth mango juice!IMG_2062.jpg

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StrEAT Maginhawa Food Park

91 Maginhawa Street, UP Village, Quezon City

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A great place to hang, honestly, I was super surprised with its location because the food park is smack in the middle of a very quiet, suburban area. StrEat starts operating at 5pm up until 12am, Tuesdays to Sundays! Great to start eating and drink after a long week of working or studying. The food park is not large, so make sure you come in early.

The parking is limited, so it’s best to either get dropped or take public transport. Once you enter, the place is lit up, you’ll see cute colourful lanterns in the ceiling, plants and quaint looking chairs. The place sure looks inviting! I don’t believe there was any background music from memory, so you won’t need to worry about shouting when talking. There are a small number of food outlets to choose from, conveniently surrounding the seating area. We just walked-in, but I did see some outlets had reservations.

 There was only one food outlet that was closed, a few names of the food/drink outlets include: Epicure, The Lost Bread, Schmidts Hot Dogs, Fujimama Manila and much more! Best to order a bunch of small plates so you can try a variety. The price was low-mid range, very affordable. The highlight for me was the delicious bucket cocktails from Epicure Mixology.

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Little Flour Café

G/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall Building D, EDSA, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City, Philippines

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Part of the Wildflour group and a younger sibling of the well-known Wildflour cafe, you know Little Flour cafe will be just as good!

What I love about this cafe is that they offer breakfast all-day everyday, so if you’re like me who loves to eat breakfast for dinner, you’ll enjoy this place. You will find a mixture of continental and Filipino breakfast and brunch dishes. I ordered their Filipino Breakfast item, that came with their homemade longganisa, garlic fried rice, eggs, pan de sal and coconut jam. Everything spelled out Filipino in this one dish, though it did pull back on the oiliness, whilst still keeping its moisture. I was craving chips so I squeezed that in. My partner ordered their Veggie Rice Bowl, since he had wanted to eat a bit cleaner.

The lighting in the cafe was dim, setting the mood for a comfortable and laid-back dinning experience. Waitstaffs were reachable if you wanted their attention, music was not too loud and the price averaged around $15 AUD. For some gentle cleanse, try their Fresh Ginger and Turmeric Tea.

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Gallery By Chele

5/F Clipp Center, 11th Avenue corner, 39th St, Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines

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I had Gallery By Chele down on my food list, when checking out awesome restaurants in the Philippines. Fortunately, I decided this restaurant is where I would be having my pre-dinner birthday celebration! Gallery By Chele did not disappoint.

Located within  Clipp Centre, was a bit hard to find at first because there were no signs, so keep your GPS switched on. You take a life up to the fifth floor, and you are warmly welcomed by their first of house team member. Pre-book if you plan to feast! I believe they have a few private rooms at the back. There interior was stunning, warm with all different tones of wood, lines with hints of grey marble. Screams elegance mixed with South East Asian interior flavour.

What drew me to this restaurant was its mission to source local produce and flavours, unique to the Philippines and South East Asia. As you can see by the images below, we ordered a few colourful dishes. All the dishes were amazing; the highlights for me was the Coquille starter, Tunamansi main and the Single Origin dessert.

Service was amazing, not over bearing and were very attentive. Food timely came out and no dish disappoint. Highly recommend if you have something to celebrate or even have time to get your tastebuds alive and kicking! Almost forgot to mention their impressive drink list and make sure to try a glass of their moscato… it was delish! Hats off to the sommelier and the waitstaffs that night.

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The Balcony Bar & Oyster Co.

7/3 Lawson St, Byron Bay NSW

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Right on the popular and ever bustling town of Byron Bay, you won’t miss it, is Balcony. Make sure to book prior and request to have a seat on the balcony.

After going up a flight of stairs, you will be greeted by a beautiful open floor setting, white rustic furniture and busy waitstaff. The place is filled with beachgoers, laid back but trendy diners, either celebrating a day out on the beach, a birthday or a social gathering! I went during dinner, just when the sun was setting, so it was oozing with bright colours but with a romantic touch.

Balcony’s menu offers a wide selection of oysters, seasonal flavours,  tapas, salads, charred and bone pieces, lamb, crab… just check out their menu here.They serve during breakfast, lunch and dinner. We got ourselves some oysters, which was delish by the way! Ordered their broccolini, chicken lollipops, cauliflower popcorn and the salt cod croquettes. By the time we got our new york cheesecake and coconut sago, we were overly satisfied.

I’d say overall the food items were done right, it was all tasty and not overly oily or fried. It was a perfect balance of softness and crispy. I now look back and wonder, gosh we ordered way too many fried items. If we were to go back, I’d try their lamb shoulder or crispy skinned ocean trout! The most memorable is their oysters and the sauces that came with it. Their cheesecake lacked unfortunately the “cheesiness”, was a bit over it after 3 bites.

Food and drinks were served on time, the setting was tastefully done and shout out to our waitstaff that night Jay! Do try their cocktails, nothing beats cocktails after a day exploring the area.

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Tomatito

Ground Floor, BGC Corporate Center, 11th Avenue Corner 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

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Stepped into Tomatito and did not want to leave, wanted to try all them delicious tapas. Settled in quite quickly and stepped into a spacious Spanish themed restaurant, also 80s inspired, with splashes of red and fairy lights definitely giving the interior a festive vibe.

You will find the menu filled with fun Spanish tapas, priced mid range upwards (200 php +) and the quantity per plate was not a disappointment. Between E and I, we ordered about 7 plates to share and dessert. I highly recommend the ‘Salmon TNT’, it was a sweet mix of smoked salmon, honey and truffle, that exploded under a bite. I have been craving for it since arriving back to Sydney. Special mention to their ‘Dessert Platter’ and ‘Ibericos Croquettes’ Colours and its matching flavours made the dinning experience exciting, that if given the time, I would have ordered more! Cocktail I ordered, called ‘Livin La Vida…’ was smooth, no hint of alcohol was tasted.

Even if you are not in the BCG, Taguig area, I recommend the drive down and getting a taste of Tomatito’s Spanish tapas!

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